The role of the World Bank in addressing economic gender inequalities in countries affected by conflict
Gender equality has been hit hard by Covid-19. The pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing gender inequalities as well as conflict and insecurity. Despite this, women in conflict-affected contexts continue to find innovative ways to advance gender economic equality. They need support. The response to Covid-19 must include a gender lens and consult with women.
- Moderator: Petra Tötterman Andorff, General Secretary, The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
- Panelist 1: Rula Asad, Executive Director, Syrian Women Journalists Network
- Panelist 2: Sofija Vrbaski, Western Balkans project coordinator, The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
- Panelist 3: Dr Hana Brixi, Global Gender Director, World Bank
- Panelist 4: Xavier Devitor, Advisor for the Fragility, Conflicts and Violence Group at the World Bank
Petra Tötterman Andorff – Presentation
The Covid-19 has increased pre-existing inequalities. In conflict-affected areas, women face even more inequalities
Countless women around the world have little control over resources, access to services and labor rights.
In this context, macroeconomic efforts play a more important role than ever.
IFISs invest in post-covid recovery, but packages should have a strong gender focus.
New publication “Challenging the Standard – Global Stories of Women’s Economic Empowerment”. Includes interviews with women from the Western Balkans, the Middle East, Africa … The report gives many recommendations for change, 2 of which are mentioned here:
- Governments should include a gender perspective in economic decision-making
- “The IMF acts like you want us to win” Women’s organizations are crucial, they need long-term funding to develop programs and maintain direct relationships with policymakers.
How do we try to fight patriarchy?
- Trying to activate the role of the media against injustice and gender inequality
- Improve the representation of women in the media
- Create an environment that provides opportunities for women journalists
- Lack of media awareness of sexual misconduct, such as harassment
- Single female journalists are undermined – access to the labor market is limited (due to having family or not, why do you need money, are you going to move to a safer country?) . For example, women are called upon during their maternity leave for tasks
- Exclusion of women in management positions
- Contracts worse than men
Trying to improve the discourse of women in the media sector, but also trying to provide protection and health care as these are areas of conflict.
It is really important to support more NGOs because they are working directly with affected groups. Need flexible funds for civil society.
The economic empowerment of women is an umbrella, as many content and thematic areas.
Advocacy has become important for transformative change.
Very little communication between CSOs and governments. CSOs fill the void where governments fail.
During the pandemic, advocacy becomes a tool to make sure we don’t back down.
Highlights a key study of female grocery store workers – who were also at the center of the pandemic. Found a lot of labor violations.
Dr Hana Brixi
Discussed the barriers women face in terms of economic power and how the World Bank works in collaboration with CSOs on program design:
Barriers to access to work: Social norms, prevalence of women working at home and in care.
Currently, the challenges are greater than ever: the impact of Covid has caused a disproportionate impact on women, especially in economic opportunity.
The Bank strongly agrees that CSOs, women’s groups, etc. must work together and adapt concrete actions.
- Multi-sector approach: generally based on research evidence and examples
- In national programs to support girls’ education and empowerment
The context of Covid reverses decades in women’s empowerment and rights. Gender analysis has been used for project design, with immunization programs trying to reach specific groups.
Behavior change is the key to the social transformation needed to change women’s empowerment – involving men and community influencers
It is very difficult in FCV – first to tackle the factors of fragility and mitigate them.
We carry out an assessment in the country, then the results are translated into reports
How could we do more?
We need the help of women’s organizations and CSOs to understand the issues in each country and what to do and what not to do. Conversations must take place at the community level
Need to support the leadership of women’s organizations and continue to gather evidence
questions and answers
Q: On the question – How can we do more together (from Victor)?
By including these organizations in decision making and program development. They need recognition for their efforts. These groups do in FCV countries
Q: (from the Rwandan lawyer) Gender Responsive Budgeting in Rwanda Introduction: Nation building after the genocide of women was key. Policies and laws were not enough. Women were needed in decision-making – women-sensitive budgeting in 2003 to tackle gender inequalities. There is still a long way to go even if improvements have been made. How does the WB support women in the budgeting of programs?
How essential it is to include women in disaster management. This has been seen in the latest disaster management reports.
IDA20 new commitment that the WB will pursue: bridging the gap between men and women.
Q: (from the lawyer for the Western Balkans) The Bank could do more on the ground financially and politically.
- The WB should consult more with CSOs.
- The WB said it does not directly fund CSOs, only experts. They should find ways to fund CSOs as experts. They should push the government to institutionalize CSO budgeting, especially after Covid.
To what extent can the WB create additional mechanisms to fund CSOs and groups of women’s rights organizations?
Regarding consultation with CSOs: how to expand it and make it effective, it would be worth exploring for the future.
On contracting experts: for a specific product it is possible. For a funding mechanism, I can’t think of a special mechanism, at least for now.
Working with orgs with your feet on the ground.
3 funding sources: IBRD, IDA, trust funds – to fund CSOs should list a number of specific points or outcomes that the CSO will help achieve. Another way is for financial partners to convince them to fund CSOs to work with the bank. Funding is very limited to instruments
Q: disability restricts access to education
The World Bank’s social inclusion projects aim to mainstream inclusion and safety of children in school. New IDA20 commitment: developing a human capital theme to include children with disabilities in opportunities and include them in programs that support development.
Q: (Luiz Vieira, BWP) Capacity of the new gender strategy to examine the impact of macroeconomic policy on women and girls in FCVs. How was the Bank in the new FCV strategy able to carry out an ex ante analysis on the impact of macro-policies on women and girls?
It is not a black or white answer. Measures on who wins, who loses. We are working closely with the IMF to try to prepare an FCV strategy and the best way to think about macroeconomic policies in these contexts.
70% of budget operations had a gender impact analysis
We have to work together. It is difficult to go through governments, but we need more open channels of conversation. Communities are the ones that need support and help. Intersectional lenses are even more useful in such fragile contexts.
On behalf of Kvinna till Kvinna, I will recommend always involving women’s rights organizations, especially in budgeting. We need to find ways to monitor results in line with SDG5.
I would really love to follow this conversation and explore possible platforms to continue these conversations and how to do them in the physical context.
Regarding influence on government, I would like to go further and make it more explicit.
Petra Tötterman Andorff
Women’s organizations are underfunded even though they contribute in so many ways. Challenge we face and the WBG plays an important role in this and has the capacity to lobby for it.